Cloth Diapers for Beginners

Why do I wanna do it in the first place?

If you’ve read any of my other posts, it’s pretty easy to gather that I’m a big fan of saving money.  Some call me cheap, I prefer the term frugal, but whatever.  Ever since we learned we were expecting Mini Cooper, my money saving tactics have only improved and with good reason.  Despite working my buns off for my degree, I quite enjoyed being a housewife (homemaker, domestic goddess, etc.) last summer and I knew that when the time came for us to start a family, I wanted to be the one caring for my child, not an expensive daycare or a family member who already got to raise their kids.  That presented the challenge of supporting another even needier family member on what would essentially be one income.  So, how does one go about doing that?

First, I knew I wanted to breastfeed.  Given, Mini Cooper has yet to make her grand arrival so I don’t know if that specific part of the plan will actually happen, but that’s the goal.  Second, cloth diapers.  I wasn’t sure how that part would work out if my plan to stay at home didn’t come into fruition.  Not many daycares will want to fool with cloth diapers (nor would a family member who was tending to a baby pro bono) and I’m not sure I’d have time myself to mess with them.  Thankfully, many prayers were answered and it’s looking like I’m going to get to work part time from home, so cloth diapers are a go! (Especially since I need to cut out as many costs as possible to make this arrangement work.)

Typically, when I mention my desire to cloth diaper, I get weird looks from friends & family alike… including Phillip at first.  (He wasn’t opposed to it, but just kept talking about how he didn’t know how he felt about poop being thrown in our washer which was a legitimate concern.)  I know how it sounds. “She’s one of those moms, holier than thou.  She doesn’t know what she’s getting into, breastfeeding and cloth diapers?  Mkay.  Let me know how that goes for ya when you’re running on little to no sleep.”  And they may be right!  But I still want to give it a go, and not because I think it’s going to make me seem like some sort of super mom.  So why?

  1.  I’ll be honest, the biggest motivator in this decision has been money.  Yeah, it’s kind of pricey starting off because you have to stockpile the necessities, but it’s cheaper in the long run when you consider that buying disposable diapers on a regular basis will easily run us into the $1000s within the first year alone.
  2. Cloth diapers are less likely to cause diaper rash.  Happy butt, happy baby, less insane mommy.
  3. I’m going to be doing laundry anyway, so it’s not going to be that much extra work.
  4. This wasn’t really a deciding factor, but they’re so friggin’ cute!  Have you seen some of those patterns?!

Once I made up my mind, I began doing research because there were a lot more options out there than  I could’ve ever dreamed, and that’s why this post exists.  I spent no less than 12 hours total reading every shred of info I could find regarding cloth diapering, and it was overwhelming to say the least.  During that time, I came across multiple resources, some were helpful, some just confused me even more.    More than once, I complained to my husband that I wished someone would just tell me what to buy, how many to buy, and what the heck I was supposed to do with them once I had them instead of reading every mom blog the internet had to offer.  While I’m not going to do that for you either, I have compiled the best of what I read to help the next poor soul embarking on the cloth diaper journey.

My Plan

Since my child isn’t actually here yet, I can’t really tell you how well our plan or our purchases are working.  I’ll update this post once she arrives and we’re able to put everything to use, but I’ll still fill you in on what we’ve I’ve decided to use.
Note that before I made any purchases, I joined this amazing cloth diaper group on Facebook and talked to some moms about what they preferred and had them answer some of the questions I had lingering even after all the research.   I decided to do a combo of AIOs (all-in-ones) with inserts and flour sack towels and receiving blankets as prefolds which can both also be used as DIY inserts, but I’m going to make some fleece ones as well.  If you’ve not yet begun your CD (cloth diaper) research, those terms probably make no sense to you but they will after you look at the links I’m providing at the end.

After deciding what I wanted to use and I had an idea of about how many covers and such I would need, I bought the following with the intention of doing CD laundry about every other day.
1) 12 pack starter kit of AIOs w/ 12 bamboo inserts (as well as a wet bag and 12 disposable inserts) from Etsy $138.95 (including international shipping)
2) 20 flour sack towels to use as prefolds or inserts $16.71 (including tax)
3) 4 gently used Alva brand AIOs w/ 4 bamboo inserts $26.45 (including shipping)
4) 22  pre-loved prefolds & 4 extra inserts $10 (I scored these at a yard sale!)
5) 15 receiving blankets (gathered from FB and yard sales) $10
6) 3 pack of Snappi’s for use with the prefolds $12.44

This gives me:
16 diaper covers
20 ‘fancy’ inserts
22 prefolds
35 prefolds and/or inserts (depending on how I use the FSTs and blankets)
2 wetbags (one for home & one on the go!)
Grand Total: $214.55

As you can see, the AIOs cost quite a bit more than just flour sack towels, receiving blankets, or even classic prefolds (your grandma’s cloth diapers).  If you want to go the cheapest route, buy those things (FST, blankets, prefolds) along with some diaper covers and call it a day.  They aren’t as easy to use since there are multiple layers you have to put together yourself, but washing them takes less effort.

Keep in mind, this is just to get us started.  I plan to slowly acquire more over time so that I get the most bang for my buck.  Cloth diapers are like any other item of clothing -the more you wash and use them, the faster they wear out, and I’d like to have a stash big enough that these things last me longer than a year.  However, I’ll probably wait until Mini Cooper has arrived and began using them so I know what works best and I’ll update as we go!

How I Paid for It

Since I began couponing a while back, I’ve been taking full advantage of an app called Ibotta.  The lady who taught the coupon class I attended spoke highly of it, so I took her advice and it has literally paid off. I paid for those Snappi’s and the Alvas using the $37.25 I’ve earned with my Ibotta app since the class a month or so ago, so really only $177.30 was out of my pocket, and that was covered entirely by two yard sales I had to get rid of clutter.  Boom, y’all!

(Seriously, if you’re not using Ibotta yet, sign up for it!  I earn money by redeeming rebates for stuff I needed anyway and it has helped me get started on my cloth diaper stash!  You can sign up here and we can be on a team together!  The first time you redeem a rebate, I instantly earn $5 and you instantly earn $10 in addition to the rebate.  The app offers team bonuses as well, which is just more free money.  It’s not gimmicky, I swear!  You can redeem your earnings with Paypal or various gift cards after you earn $20.  Do it!)
Disclaimer: I’m not being paid to mention Ibotta, I’m just genuinely impressed with it.

Gimme Those Links, Girl

Square 1

Understanding the Lingo

Types of CDs & picking the right one for your family
More explanation (w/ pictures) of the different types

All About Inserts

So, what do I need to get started?
Another post on what a sufficient stash looks like

This post does an awesome job explaining AIOs and Prefolds!

Where to buy

12 PK AIO Starter Kit- Urban Baby Boutique
My starter kit was probably the most affordable one I could find considering everything it came with and I liked that I was supporting a small business.  She had great reviews and her customer service so far has been awesome.  My purchase includes: 12 AIO pocket diapers w/ inserts for each diaper, 12 disposable liners, and one wet bag.

Update: I received my diapers a couple of days ago and I wanted to be able to share with y’all what they look like! Not pictured are the wet bag and roll of disposable bamboo inserts that also came with the starter kit.


Aren’t these prints adorable?  I requested the diapers be as gender neutral as possible so that I can use them with our next baby. Too stinkin’ cute!


The front diaper shows the bamboo charcoal insert that is included with each diaper.  These are All-in-one diapers with a little pocket for the insert.  Since they’re one-size, the snaps make them adjustable for babies 6-40 lbs (according to the product description.)

Diaper Covers for Prefolds/FSTs/Etc.

I was originally under the impression that my AIOs would be able to serve as covers for my prefolds, but I had a different image in mind of the inside of the diaper (and everyone I know uses disposables.)  One of the moms on the group I’m in on FB had told me that any cover would do, but there is a difference in a cover and an all-in-one.  The AIOs I bought (as you can see) are lined with a really soft material, not the waterproof material on the outside.  You can understand my dilemma since I thought I’d be able to just wipe down the inside with pee diapers and just replace the insert.  That being said, a family member had introduced me to this site because a friend of hers uses their products.  I’ll let you all know what I think when I get them in because I’m not hating the prices!

Marley’s Monsters (cloth wipes & all they entail)
While you’re on Etsy, pop on over to Marley’s Monsters to have a look at her cloth wipes.  A friend bought me a bundle for my baby shower; not only are they adorable, they’re crazy soft and they came with a pack of cloth wipe bits that you put in the included spray bottle, just add water and  voila!  You’ve got wipe solution for your cloth wipes.   This will also save money in the long run because you just roll up your dirty wipes in your dirty diapers and wash ’em all together.

Major Brands
Diaper Junction sells tons of different brands and types of diapers.  They also offer gently used diapers, but I believe there’s a waiting list for those.  Bonus: They have a rewards system on the site, meaning you earn points for every purchase that can be redeemed for merchandise!

If you’re cool with gently used, try these places:
Cloth Diaper Swap (FB)
Cloth Diaper Trader
There are tons of gently used CD lots on eBay! (That’s where I found mine)

Flour Sack Towel diapers
You may be wondering why I’m using these for Mini Cooper.  This article is why!
FSTs can be purchased at Wal Mart in the same aisle where you buy kitchen towels.  I found mine almost hidden on the bottom shelf.

Receiving Blankets as Diapers
Same site, different article.  Facebook for sale groups are crawling with used baby gear so take advantage of it!

Save Even More & DIY

DIY inserts
DIY Cloth Wipes (no sew!)
DIY Cloth Wipes (sewing required)
DIY Wipe Solution

Caring for CDs

Washing cloth diapers seems to be the most intimidating part of the entire process, even more so than trying to decide which type to buy in the first place.  Once again, my baby is still baking so I can’t give you any anecdotal proof, but I’ve done a ton of reading on multiple sites.  Don’t over-complicate it! There are cloth diaper nazis out there who will have you believe it’s a 6 hour process requiring a special detergent laced with the tears of angels and a virgin sacrifice to properly care for your diapers.  Each brand has it’s own instructions, and that’s what I intend to follow.  Not following their instructions can void warranties and besides, their instructions are much simpler and easier to understand.  Tons of blogs written by moms who have been using cloth diapers long term prove this.

Washing AIOs from Urban Baby Boutique
Grovia wash instructions (includes a list of CD approved laundry detergent!) just for reference

DIY cloth diaper safe laundry detergent
(She’s been using this on her diapers for over a year with no issues and there is also a link that explains how to strip diapers.  I used it on my yard sale finds, and it worked miracles!)

Diaper Creams: Dos & Dont’s
Folding Diapers & Inserts

Facebook Support

I encourage you to join Fluff Love & CD Science on Facebook.  The ladies on there are super knowledgeable and the group itself has a ton of files & photos to help you along the way! Be sure to read the pinned post at the top of the group once you’re added though, it’s got a lot of rules.  I use it more for the interaction with the other moms than anything else; personally, I find some of the graphics and info they provide confusing, and with over 92K members, it can be hard to get to speak to an admin (unless you’re in trouble, then they’re all over that mess! haha!).  Overall, it’s been a great resource to me, though, and I’ve learned a lot by reading the posts.  They have a regular website as well (the diaper rash cream link above is from Fluff Love University, so you can view it there.)

I have lots of other great resources pinned on my board ‘Cloth Diapers’  on Pinterest if you wanna check it out.


That just about sums it up!  If you have any other awesome CD resources, by all means, comment them below!  This is still a learning process for me, but I hope that the info I’ve provided makes decisions a little less overwhelming.  Good luck!





One thought on “Cloth Diapers for Beginners

  1. Pingback: Cloth Diaper Q&A | Married with Furchildren

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